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Sunday, April 3, 2005; Page P02

BOOK: "Surf Like a Girl," by Rebecca Heller (Three Rivers Press, $11)

TARGET AUDIENCE: Chicks who'd rather be hanging 10 than hanging out on the beach.

This slim, cutely illustrated volume is slightly mislabeled: Rather than learning to "surf like a girl," which brings to mind waterproof mascara and matching your bikini to your board, Heller gives serious pointers on how to become a "surfer girl." Big difference. The California surfer-as-author shows wanna-be wave riders that surfing is an "equal opportunity sport" -- all you need is a longboard, a leash and a good set of waves.

For those who've benefited from Title IX, some of the bubble-gum talk will make you bristle. However, lines like "Often my favorite part of my surf session is . . . checking [the guys] out" are countered with such encouragement as "Don't let anyone ruin your surfing experience; if you love it, no one can take that away from you."

To help you catch that perfect wave, or at least bob in the wavelets, Heller outlines in clear, authoritative segments the basics of the sport, from board selection to the anatomy of the wave to the pecking order of surfers. Even those who trip on sand will feel confident enough to jump into the ocean and give it a whirl. Where to start? Try "Surf Spots," a list of hot surfing areas that includes our neighbor Virginia Beach.

-- Andrea Sachs

© 2005 The Washington Post Company


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